To open up our Book Discussion, we begin with Brad Gooch’s Finding the Boyfriend Within. The main message of the book is that getting to know who a person is inside will give fulfillment and enhance a relationship when that time comes. Throughout the six chapters, Gooch lays out a plan for finding the boyfriend within, ultimately getting to know who a person is inside more fully, through various exercises. He also adds many experiences that have shaped and reinforced his plan.
I think there are many great points that Gooch brings to the table but I found the whole Boyfriend Within, the Boyfriend Without, and the Voice to be confusing and unneeded. Personally, I would have liked it better if he would have come out plainly and said the key to fulfillment and happiness in life is to get to know yourself better. Be real and honest about what point is trying to be made but do not have this lofty, imaginary metaphor that travels through the whole book when it could be simplified down more. It took me until Chapter 3 to fully get what Gooch meant by “The Boyfriend Within”. This is my only gripe about the book.
As I read the book, I took notes on passages I found interesting or points I wanted to incorporate into our discussion. (Feel free to write down anything while reading to bring to the discussion.) A question I ask when I read any book is how does this fit with my faith? How does Christianity agree or disagree on this topic? It is obvious that Brad Gooch has a different worldview than I do but most of it would agree with my faith. The whole concept of “The Boyfriend Within” probably would not fly because it is saying there is someone else inside a person when really the person is getting to know who they are and what they like better.
In the introduction, Gooch makes the point that we need to take care of ourselves (no matter if we have a boyfriend or not). I know for me personally this is something I am working on. We should be able to see the good in ourselves and be able to pamper ourselves because we work hard and are worth it. Finding confidence and comfort in a person’s own skin comes before finding a partner. A partner should not be what defines us. As Gooch shows us, we do not need a partner to be happy and successful.
In Chapter 1, Gooch touches on the fact that it is important to be able to talk to other about life. This reiterates the importance of a support system for the gay man. It is also important to know yourself and spend time with yourself. Personally, I already do many of what Gooch describes in his book. One of the ways I better understand myself is I walk at a park near my house. As civilizations have continued to advance, more and more people do not have the chance or time to get outside. Walking in nature for me is going back to my roots and enjoying the nature that God created. My walks consist of me talking about my day to myself. There is power in speaking words. When something is spoken it becomes more real than if just read or just seen. Talking to myself as I walk helps me to organize my brain and get to know myself better. I also pray during my walk and come honestly before God with my thoughts and concerns. It usually takes me about an hour but I find it to be very beneficial for me to do. I probably do it every week or at least every other week.
I was first introduced to the topic of getting to know yourself better from a video Davey Wavey posted a while ago. That got me to start taking baths and pampering myself more. I would rent a gay themed movie from the library to watch in the evening and take a bath after that about once a month to reward myself for all the hard work and effort I put into my life. I would set a playlist of Enya songs and just relax and rejuvenate from the day. To feel the warmth of the water radiating through my body is a very relaxing and comforting sensation. As all of this goes on, it takes me to a happy place within that allows me to dig deep within myself and discover more of who I am as a person, more of who God created me to be.
Here’s a sample of a song I listen to as I take a bath:
In Chapter 2, the point is made that we should know what we bring to the table in a relationship. I have not done the exercises that Gooch suggests but I have definitely thought about this concept. Another point I found important is that we are never going to go anywhere if we always continue to play the victim. It is inevitable that we will be hurt by others but we need to learn from the experience and move on.
In Chapter 3, Gooch brings up being confident in your singleness and being able to not be afraid to do things that you would like to do but do not because you do not have someone else to go with you. This is one that I need work on. I would rather have someone go with me and “show me the ropes” so to speak but I think this is good point that needs to be made. We should be confident in our singleness.
In Chapter 4, the main point that I found was to learn from your previous experiences and not let them haunt you. This is another one that I struggle with. There are certain events that I am embarrassed by or frustrated that I did not do the right thing that play back over and over in my mind. I need to ask myself, what could I have done better for the next time and move on.
In Chapter 5, Gooch expresses to never give someone else the responsibility of making you happy. Only you can be the one to do that. Happiness is a choice that comes from choosing to have a positive attitude. A person can also choose to sulk in their situation. Emotions do not have to control our behavior.
In Chapter 6, Gooch states “I don’t think you can understand or create much love before you’re thoroughly happy.” Getting to know ourselves and love ourselves is key before we move on to love another person.
I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars. There is much good information in it but the whole idea of the Boyfriend Within is confusing and unneeded. If there is another book that focuses on this topic, I would recommend it over this one. Coming into this book, I learned much of what Brad Gooch talked about previously. I think if we are real and honest with ourselves already in life, much of this book we do not need.
Let the discussion begin!